NEW YORK – Earlier today in federal court in Brooklyn, Alfredo Hawit, a former FIFA vice president and executive committee member, the former president of CONCACAF, and the former president and general secretary of the Honduran soccer federation (FENAFUTH), pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy, two counts of wire fraud conspiracy, and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice in connection with his receipt of bribes in exchange for the awarding of contracts for the media and marketing rights to CONCACAF tournaments and FIFA World Cup qualifier matches. Hawit, who served in high-ranking positions in soccer from 1998 to 2015, also agreed to forfeit $950,000. At sentencing, Hawit faces a maximum sentence of 20 years for each count. Today’s plea proceeding took place before United States District Judge Raymond J. Dearie.
The guilty plea was announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Diego G. Rodriguez, Assistant Director in Charge, FBI, New York Field Office; and Acting Special Agent in Charge Anthony J. Orlando, IRS Criminal Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office.
According to court filings and facts presented during the plea proceeding, in approximately 2011 and 2012, Hawit negotiated and accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for his agreement to exercise his influence as acting president of CONCACAF to award an Argentine sports marketing company the media and marketing rights to CONCACAF tournaments, including the Gold Cup and the CONCACAF Champions League. Starting in approximately 2008, Hawit also negotiated and accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for his agreement to exercise his influence as the FENAFUTH general secretary to award contracts to Media World, a Florida sports marketing company, for the media and marketing rights to the Honduran national soccer team’s home World Cup qualifier matches for the 2014, 2018, and 2022 editions of the World Cup. Over a period of years, Media World transmitted these bribes from its U.S. bank accounts, through an intermediary, to foreign bank accounts controlled by the defendant’s family members and by a co-conspirator. In addition, after the original indictment in this case was unsealed on May 27, 2015, Hawit engaged in a conspiracy to obstruct justice, and to tamper with witnesses and evidence, by advising a co-conspirator to create sham contracts in order to mask bribe payments already paid and, if asked, deceive law enforcement officers about the true nature and purpose of bribe payments.
The guilty plea announced today is part of an investigation into corruption in international soccer being led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the FBI New York Field Office, and the IRS-CI Los Angeles Field Office. The prosecutors in Brooklyn are receiving considerable assistance from attorneys in various parts of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division in Washington, D.C., including the Office of International Affairs, the Organized Crime and Gang Section, the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, and the Fraud Section, as well as from INTERPOL Washington.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Evan M. Norris, Amanda Hector, Paul Tuchmann, Nadia Shihata, Keith D. Edelman, and Brian D. Morris of the Eastern District of New York are in charge of today’s prosecution.
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